Home Hacking Projects for Geeks

Overview

Take a geek and a PC, add one soldering iron, a home, and a copy of Home Hacking Projects for Geeks, and you'll give new meaning to the term, "home improvement." From fearless neophytes to tool-wielding masterminds, the home hacker in any geek will find new inspiration and plenty of hands-on guidance to take on a variety of home-transforming projects once relegated to the world of sci-fi.

This fun new guide combines creativity with electricity and power tools to achieve cool—and...

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Overview

Take a geek and a PC, add one soldering iron, a home, and a copy of Home Hacking Projects for Geeks, and you'll give new meaning to the term, "home improvement." From fearless neophytes to tool-wielding masterminds, the home hacker in any geek will find new inspiration and plenty of hands-on guidance to take on a variety of home-transforming projects once relegated to the world of sci-fi.

This fun new guide combines creativity with electricity and power tools to achieve cool—and sometimes even practical—home automation projects. Never again will you have to flip a light switch when you enter a room or use a key to open your front door. With a few off-the-shelf devices, some homemade hardware, and a little imagination, you can be living in your own high-tech habitat.

Home Hacking Projects for Geeks shows hackers of all ability levels how to take on a wide range of projects, from the relatively small but energy-conscious automating of light switches, to building home theaters using Windows or Linux-based PCs, to more complicated projects like building home security systems that rival those offered by professional security consultants. Each project includes a conceptual diagram, a "What You Need List" and a small "Project Stats" section that describes the relative difficulty, time involved, and cost of the project. What's more, each project is a workable, practical way to improve your home—something unique that you can customize for your individual needs.

The thirteen projects in Home Hacking Projects for Geeks are divided into three categories: Home Automation, Home Entertainment Systems, and Security, and include projects such as:

  • Remotely Monitor Your Pet
  • Make Your House Talk
  • Remotely Control Your Computer's MP3 player
  • Create Time-Shifted FM Radio
  • Watch Your House Across the Network
  • Build a Home Security System

If you've ever thought the Jetsons had it made, or looked around your house and thought, "I could make that better " then you're ready for Home Hacking Projects for Geeks.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Is this book for you? Let’s find out. Imagine you’d like to know what the weather’s like outside without leaving your bed. How would you do it? A. Buy a radio. B. Configure your computer to read weather data via automated web service, transform the data into digitized human voice, and transmit it to your bedroom’s wireless speakers. If the answer is self-evidently “B,” buy this book.

The inimitable Eric Faulkner and Tony Northrup offer up all manner of projects here. Check your pet across the Web -- or access your entire media collection. Build a home theater PC. Time-shift FM radio. Hey, just reading this stuff’s half the fun. You don’t even have to do it. But, why not? A few X10 modules, some stray hardware that’s surely already in your basement, a few lines of (provided) code, and you’re golden! Bill Camarda, from the February 2005 Read Only

Library Journal
Electricians make a good living, partly because the rest of us have no clue how to handle any project involving electricity other than replacing a light bulb. Assuming that we would be interested in learning how to do such things as building our own security systems or monitoring our pets remotely (which for the authors makes us geeks), this rather modestly designed but information-laden manual shows us how the combination of creativity and electricity can lead to such cool effects as, believe it or not, making your house talk. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596004057
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Series: Hacks Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.92 (w) x 9.68 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric's Love affair with technology began as a child with his first electronics project kits from Radio Shack. In his early teens, a friend's Texas Instruments TI99/4A intoduced him to computers and programming, thus sealing his fate to be a lifelong geek.

Professionally, Eric's experience is diverse. He worked for a voice messaging pioneer in the 80s. He spent three years in the Army working with nerve agents. He designed fully automated manufacturing facilities for the precast concrete industry. Then he went to college.

These days Eric makes a living as a technology consultant and systems engineer. He also finds time for writing, teaching, and editing. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Alyssa, their daughter, Lily, and Lily's grandparents Will and Jean.

Tony Northrup, a Boston-area network security consultant and technology author, developed his interest in home automation after renting an apartment where every light was controlled by pulling a string. Tony turned to home automation products to add light switches without needing to hire an electrician or cutting into the drywall. Tony later bought a house and now uses computers to control and monitor virtually every system in his home: electrical, home theater, security, and even plumbing. Tony's wife, Erica, ensures his home hacking projects are user-friendly and reliable, while his cat, Sammy, mangles every project within paw's reach.

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Table of Contents

  • About the Author
  • Preface
  • Part I: Home Automation
    • Chapter 1: Automate a Light
    • Chapter 2: Automate Your Porch Light
    • Chapter 3: Remotely Monitor a Pet
    • Chapter 4: Make Your House Talk


  • Part II: Home Entertainment
    • Chapter 5: Remotely Control Your Computer
    • Chapter 6: Control Your Home Theater
    • Chapter 7: Build a Windows-Based Home Theater PC
    • Chapter 8: Build a Linux-Based Home Theater PC
    • Chapter 9: Create Time-Shifted FM Radio
    • Chapter 10: Access Your Entire Media Collection Over the Internet


  • Part III: Home Security
    • Chapter 11: Keyless Entry Welcome Home
    • Chapter 12: Watch Your House Across the Network
    • Chapter 13: Build a Security System


  • Colophon

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005

    Good idea, but in many areas poorly executed

    Home Hacking Projects for Geeks provides a high impact crash course in setting up an automated network with a wide variety of convenience features by utilizing X10 devices. The majority of such devices rely on using your wiring as a medium to transmit and receive control signals as well as data. The topics cover a wide range of features that many geeks would like to implement such as remotely monitoring a pet via a motion detector and web-cam interface to having your computer vocally give a weather report. However, this book serves very much as a beginner¿s guide to home convenience rather than as a reference manual. The target audience is truly for geeks as the reader will get quickly submerged into setting up servers, configuring Perl, setting up cron jobs, and soldering. The book does go into detail in explaining how to set up these features (some very briefly) and then dives right into having the reader copy and paste code without asking too many questions. I find that setting up additional Linux boxes and configuring Apache are explained rather superficially. Since this is not the focus of the book one can hardly complain, but to other geeks who have not done these things before these tasks will be more challenging. I doubt that all this configuration and installation in the book will go as quickly and seem as trivial a matter as the authors make it out to be for those who need it. On another note the continuity of the book is broken up by using different Linux distributions. Perl is used quite heavily in the book and some projects call for developing in C# and using IIS servers, ruining the flow of the book. The second half of the book is much better, covering more exciting topics such as setting up whole-house audio, creating a PVR, and building an impressive home security system. If the reader has kept up with what¿s going on in the web and spent more than a minute or two looking into how to implement these projects then the book loses a fair amount of value. However, if many of these projects are ones in which the viewer has yet to research then you will appreciate this book¿s simplified and accelerated approach to just getting up and running with the projects. The straightforward manner will allow the reader to accomplish a number of very cool things. I just hope that it all works out the first time through for them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2005

    Fun but not completely original

    Home Hacking Projects for Geeks is a really fun book to read which also provides instructions on how to perform some very interesting home improvements. This book reminded me a little bit of O¿Reilly¿s other book ¿Smart Home Hacks¿, only the hacks in this book are not all specifically smart-home related. In any case, some of the hacks in the other book mentioned are also found in this book. ¿Home Hacking Projects¿, however, does contain some fun projects I haven¿t seen anywhere else. Some of the more interesting projects in this book include how to remotely monitor your pet, creating time shifted radio, and how to make your home talk. One thing I really enjoyed about this book is that examples are provided for both a Linux and Windows environment. Additionally, configuration information is provided for your router, if the completed project is to be accessible from outside your home network. While there are some projects included in this book that you might find elsewhere, this book does an excellent job of providing clear and detailed instructions, including wiring diagrams (if applicable), screen shots of configuration information, and a lot of other things that make the successful completion of these projects much more likely. You¿ll have a blast automating your home with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2005

    integration

    The cover of the book deliberately harkens back to a retroness of some earlier decade. The 70s perhaps. The projects discussed are however of quite recent vintage. One useful improvement in this book, over earlier ones in this series, are the visual slider estimates at the start of each chapter. There are 3, for cost, time and difficulty. Gives you another handle to quickly assess what you might tackle. Many projects revolve around integration. How to build some hardware electrical gadget and hook it up in some fashion to your computer. So that the computer can get data from it, or control it. The software components of these projects is kept very minimal. The authors are clearly aware that the likeliest readers are hands-on folks. Who might think that there's already too much software in the book.

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